DIVAN (1985)

for slides and two digital soundtracks

with computer graphic images by Theo Goldberg
The choice of the Persian word DIVAN for a title is a metaphor, inspired by Persian weavings and miniatures. Among the many meanings of the word in Persian, one is "cycle," and the piece is cyclic the way a cycle of poems is; the word also indicates a comfortable couch, as the piece suggests a leisurely, pillowed interval with images and sounds.

The collaborators agreed on certain digital substances to inform the work, and after that let music and images follow their own idiosyncracies. In the first section, "Sheherezade," the substance is a motiv from Rimsky's work; the second, "Variations," elaborates the venerable Birth Symbol found in the decorative art of many cultures, especially the Persian weavings. The third section, "Ikonography," is based on the digital substance of the harmonic ratios in Frequency Modulation; the "Coda" sums up the previous three movements.

One of the graphics used in this piece is featured on the cover of the CD Digital Soundscapes. The entire work is available as a DVD video, or can be seen here.

Production Note:

The music for Divan was realized with the composer's PODX system for computer sound synthesis and composition in the Centre for the Arts at Simon Fraser University using the DMX-1000 Digital Signal Processor. The synthesis technique used is that of frequency modulation (FM) of arbitrary waveforms. A spatial trajectory program developed by the composer was used to map specific paths for the various layers in binaural stereo.